Hornberger's Blog

Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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Hornberger’s Blog, May 2005

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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

U.S. officials might be prematurely celebrating the death of Musab al Zarqawi, given a tape on which Zarqawi describes his wounds as minor.

The Zarqawi saga evidences the ease by which federal officials can mold the minds of people to adopt new official enemies whose death would supposedly bring “victory” in Iraq and in the “war on terrorism.” Think about how the feds have gone from one enemy to another: Osama, Saddam, Saddam’s sons, Sadr, Zarqawi — and how Americans have permitted their minds to go from one enemy to another in the hopes of final “victory” — much like those fake rabbits that keep the dogs running around the race track. Guess what: Even if Zarqawi were captured or killed, as Saddam and his sons were, victory would not be “right around the corner,” any more than capturing or killing drug lords for the last three decades has brought “victory” in the war on drugs.

It is the U.S. government’s presence and policies themselves in the Middle East, evidenced most recently by the invasion and occupation of Iraq, which has killed tens of thousands of innocent people (none of whom had anything to do with 9/11), that has inspired people to go after the United States. So, if Zarqawi were to die, he’d simply be replaced by someone else, just as what has taken place in the war on drugs for the past 30 years.

Thus, there is only one solution to both the drug war and the terrorism war. But the solution involves a recognition that U.S. policies and programs are at the root of the problem, a fact that all too many Americans, unfortunately, still don’t want to confront.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Ludwig von Mises once pointed out that one government intervention inevitably leads to another intervention in order to fix the problems associated with the previous intervention. While Mises was referring to domestic interventions, such as price controls, the principle applies to foreign policy as well. For example, the federal government’s foreign policy led to the 9/11 attacks, which led the federal government to invade Afghanistan and achieve “regime change,” which converted Afghanistan to an opium-narco state, which will lead to a renewed effort to “win” the “war on drugs,” which will lead to more drug money to fund the “terrorists,” which will lead to a renewed effort to “win” the “war on terrorism.” And of course, all this means increased budgets and taxes to fund both the drug war and the terrorism war.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Hilary Clinton’s former finance chief, David F. Rosen, got a taste of the true benefit of the regulated society. Clinton and undoubtedly Rosen as well are totally committed to the socialist and interventionist philosophy by which federal bureaucrats have the power to regulate the peaceful activities of the citizenry through a myriad of rules and regulations, which are then brutally and selectively enforced through prosecutions, fines, and imprisonment. Thus, it is the ultimate of perverse ironies that Clinton’s own aide got prosecuted (although he was acquitted) for violating some idiotic regulations dealing with FEC disclosure reports.

You see, the supposed idea behind FEC reports is so that the public will know the sources and amounts of money that a political candidate is receiving and spending. But the real benefit is that like all other federal reports (IRS reports being the primary example), they also provide federal officials with unlimited power to prosecute people on a selective basis for screwing up with respect to filling out the report.

That is to say, federal officials, including those in Congress, know that when an enormous body of rules and regulations are imposed on the citizenry, no one—and I repeat, no one—will ever be able to comply with all of them. Thus, if they want to get someone, all they have to do is search through the rules and they’ll have no problem finding some violation of them.

Since everyone is in violation of some rule, whether it be IRS reports, or SEC reports, or FEC reports, or hiring reports (i.e, hiring illegal aliens), the tendency is for people to keep their head down and not make waves.

Thus the great benefit of the regulated society (from the standpoint of those who love power and hate liberty) is that it makes people conform to the mandates of their rulers because they know, consciously or subconsciously, that if they get out of line, there is always some rule or regulation that they have violated for which they can be prosecuted and punished. The federal prosecution of a high Clinton aide, albeit unsuccessful, reinforces that message to everyone else.

The slimy bureaucrat at the State Science Institute, Dr. Floyd Ferris, put the benefit of the federally regulated society best in Atlas Shrugged:

“Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against — then you’ll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We’re after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you’d better get wise to it. There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted — and you create a nation of law-breakers — and then you cash in on guilt. Now, that’s the system, Mr. Rearden, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”

Friday, May 27, 2005

As you may know, state officials have indicted the runaway bride for lying about why she ran away from her pending wedding. But why is that Pentagon officials haven’t been indicted for knowingly and intentionally lying about Pat Tillman’s death? In other words, as I asked with respect to the federal government’s persecution-prosecution of Martha Stewart, why is it a crime for a citizen to lie to a government servant but not the other way around? Do you ever get the feeling that it’s us, the citizenry, who are now the servants and they, the federal politicians and bureaucrats, who are the masters?

The Pat Tillman lie once again confirms that federal officials are not worthy of belief, ever. Because if a person will lie to you about one important thing without remorse or repentance, then obviously you cannot believe anything he says about other important things. Whether we’re talking about the Gulf of Tonkin “attack,” or Watergate, or Waco, or Ruby Ridge, or Iraq and WMD, or the Koran at Gitmo, or the Tillman death, the discomforting truth is that federal officials will lie and do lie. Their attitude is: “So what? We’re part of the federal government. We’re the masters and you’re the servants. Deal with it.”

Many Americans continue to place their undying faith in their federal officials. For example, when the Bush administration tried to blame Newsweek for America’s bad image around the world, that group of Americans immediately echoed the official “It’s all Newsweek’s fault that people hate America” line.

But it seems that a growing number of Americans are now reacting with caution and skepticism about federal pronouncements, which is a very positive sign. That group immediately recognized that the “Blame Newsweek because the U.S. military would never dishonor the Koran” was just one more federal lie. After all, think about it: When U.S. soldiers perform those weird and perverted sex acts (where do these people learn such acts?) on Muslim prisoners at Gitmo, what are the chances that their superior officers are going to say, “Hey, be sure to protect that guy’s Koran while we’re performing our deviant sex acts on him”?

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Undoubtedly there were federal and state prosecutors and other supporters of the war on drugs grinding their teeth last night over the possibility that American Idol finalist Bo Bice might have been selected as this season’s American Idol. According to news media reports, Bice has been arrested in the past for drug-law violations.

You could just see the drug warriors sitting on their couches in front of their television sets, growling, “He ought to be in jail where prison officials could rehabilitate him. He’ll never go anywhere as a drug-law violator.”

Of course, it makes you think about all those nonviolent drug offenders that the drug warriors have put in jail, destroying their lives, preventing them from achieving any success in their lives.

Interestingly, the article linked above details an example of the federal snitch program, which has long been a core feature of the drug war, where the feds promise people lighter prison sentences if they’ll just snitch on their friends.

“But Elwin says Bo took the fall for his aunt — who was already facing serious jail time for drugs. The officers made a deal if she turned in so many people they would lessen her sentence.”

And before any drug warriors send me an email claiming that snitch programs are as American as apple pie, consider this news story, which describes the Chinese communist government’s war on drugs which the communists are still a long way from winning:

“‘Communist Party leaders declared a People’s War on Drugs in April,’ Feng said. He appealed to the public to inform on traffickers and to help addicts reform — a rare step by a government that usually says it can handle crime and social problems on its own.

Now, think about that: If the U.S. government were to adopt all the tactics of the Chinese communists, including intensive snitch programs, it would still not be enough to win the war on drugs.

Of course, ultimately the issue is a moral one. Americans must finally ask a basic question: Under what moral authority does one grown-up have the authority to punish another grown-up for ingesting harmful substances? When American grown-ups in the private sector finally ask that question, the drug war will be brought to an end and American grown-ups in the government sector will no longer have the legal power to go after Bo Bice or anyone else for drug-law violations.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Now that U.S. Senators have reached a compromise in that “major” problem facing America — the filibustering of a few nominees to the federal bench — would it be asking too much for them to confront what some people might consider to be the real major problems facing our nation before falling back into their normal semi-comatose state? Such as:

1. The out-of-control federal spending, including what have become periodic “emergency” expenditures totaling tens of billions of dollars “rebuilding” Iraq, after having spent billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars destroying the country.

2. The level of congressional pork that is inserted into spending bills every time such a bill comes up for a vote.

3. The decades-old drug war that is destroying people and cities.

4. The increasing federal scapegoating to avoid focus on the federal root of America’s problems, including casting blame on immigrants for America’s economic woes and on China for America’s monetary and fiscal woes.

5. The moral and economic bankruptcy of socialist programs, including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

6. The U.S. government’s knowing and intentional support of brutal dictators, including Saddam, the Shah of Iran, Pinochet, and the current heads of Pakistan and Uzbekistan.

7. The escalating killing that besieges “liberated” and “democratized” Iraq.

8. The president’s claim to wage war against sovereign and independent nations that have not attacked the United States, and without the constitutionally mandated congressional declaration of war.

9. The administration’s attempts to renew the Patriot Act and its horrific assaults on civil liberties, which the members of Congress didn’t even read before enacting it the first time.

10. The Padilla doctrine, in which the Pentagon is claiming the authorization to arrest, jail, and punish any American and any foreigner without federal court interference and without the interference of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

11. The U.S. military’s and CIA’s torture, sex abuse, rape, and murder scandal in Cuba, Afghanistan, and Iraq, and the Pentagon’s whitewash and cover-up of such scandal.

12. The CIA’s kidnapping of people and “rendering” them to brutal authoritarian countries for the purpose of outsourcing the torture of such prisoners.

Washington worshippers undoubtedly consider it glorious and wonderful that the august members of the U.S. Senate have spent so much time, effort, and energy on resolving whether a few federal judges nominees are going to get “up or down” votes. The question is: While these people are fiddling with such “enormous” problems as Senate filibusters, why do they persist in turning away from the real problems facing our nation?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Among the many government lies surrounding the invasion and occupation of Iraq is the one about the sovereignty of the new democratically elected Iraqi regime. Ever since the national election in Iraq (which failed to ask Iraqi voters whether the U.S. should exit the country), U.S. officials have been claiming that the new regime is sovereign.

But if that’s true, then how come the U.S. military continues to announce that it plans to stay in Iraq for years and is even building permanent military bases in the country? If the new democratically elected Iraqi regime were truly sovereign, wouldn’t that mean that the Pentagon would have to ask for express permission from the new Iraqi regime to stay in Iraq and build those U.S. military bases?

Indeed, if the Iraqi regime, rather than the U.S. military, is sovereign in Iraq then how come U.S. forces are engaging in military assaults against Iraqis without the express approval of the Iraqi parliament? Isn’t it fairly obvious that the Pentagon, not the Iraqi regime, is the ultimate decider of who is going to be attacked, killed, detained, etc?

In fact, if the new Iraqi regime were truly sovereign, then wouldn’t U.S. troops simply be serving as the domestic army of the new regime, subject to the laws enacted by the Parliament and the orders and commands of the Iraqi president or prime minister?

Maybe the new Shiite regime, which is now aligning itself with U.S. arch-enemy Iran, prefers to have the U.S. military serving as its domestic killing force, helping it to rid the nation of their historical Sunni enemies. Of course if Americans later pay the price for those killings through terrorist counter-strikes, U.S. officials will be claiming, “It’s because they hate us for our freedom and values” rather than recognize that the U.S. government should never have been in Iraq at all, killing or abusing anyone.

While there is increasing talk about a civil war developing in Iraq, so far there has been little discussion of what’s going to happen if there is a collision between the supposed sovereignty of the new Iraqi regime and the sovereignty of the U.S. military. Such a collision could occur sooner than later, especially given closer ties being established between the new Iraqi regime and Iran, which U.S. officials consider a paragon of evil. Another potential conflict could occur if the new Iraqi regime pardons the thousands of Iraqi detainees being held without charges by U.S. officials. If such a collision takes place, it will not be difficult to see that the U.S. claim that the new Iraqi regime is sovereign will be just another lie among many in this immoral and destructive U.S. military adventure.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Federal probation officers are investigating whether to seek a revocation of Martha Stewart’s parole because she attended a Time magazine’s dinner honoring the “100 Most Influential People.” You’ll recall that the feds prosecuted and jailed Stewart for the ludicrous “crime” of lying to a federal bureaucrat, a “crime” that didn’t cost anyone his life or his money. (Keep in mind that Stewart wasn’t under oath and therefore she wasn’t charged with perjury. She was simply charged with lying to a federal bureaucrat.)

Meanwhile, the evidence mounts every day that President Bush knowingly and intentionally lied about his reasons for invading Iraq. You’ll recall that Bush claimed that the principle reason he had to invade Iraq was because of those infamous WMD. Well, we now have that British “smoking-gun” British intelligence memo indicating that Bush’s real reason for invading was “regime change,” a point that we here at FFF have steadfastly maintained since even before the invasion. And now the Washington Post provides even more proof of the lies in a detailed analysis of how Bush and his minions knowingly and intentionally misused the intelligence reports.

Meanwhile, the family of Pat Tillman, not surprisingly, is angry and upset over the lies that the Pentagon knowingly told about his death.

And of course, we have all the lies involved in the whitewash and cover-up of the torture, sex abuse, rape, and murder scandal in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Cuba.

But is any federal prosecutor going after any of these federal politicians and bureaucrats for lying, especially since those lies were so much more immoral and destructive than the lies that Martha Stewart supposedly told federal bureaucrats? Of course not. Lying is a crime that’s reserved for Americans in the private sector, not the elite Americans in the federal government sector.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Unfortunately, it seems that the U.S. federal government is, once again, serving as a model for other countries. In this case, it’s Zimbabwe. According to a front-page article in today’s New York Times entitled “Zimbawe, Long Destitute, Teeters Toward Ruin,”

“In the weeks before parliamentary elections in March, the leaders of this threadbare nation threw open the national larder, wooing voters with stocks of normally scarce gasoline and corn and a flood of freshly printed money.”

In other words, just like the president and the members of Congress do when they dole out the political candy (i.e., grants for your community, SBA loans, education subsidies, military bases, increases in Social Security and Medicare, protectionism, etc.) to the American people on the eve of political campaigns. What better way to purchase votes from people who are clamoring for their welfare, especially if they have no idea that the money that their politicians are using to purchase the welfare comes from them — the citizenry — through the taxes they’re forced to pay the IRS?

Meanwhile, the Times also reports today that the Pentagon’s torture and sex abuse camp at Guantanamo Bay is now serving as model for people all over the world of what the United States now represents. Unbelievable!

Meanwhile rumors have it that supporters of the federal government’s pro-empire foreign policy are complaining that George Lucas has modeled the emperor and Darth Vader on the Bush administration’s war on Iraq, which Lucas denies. This means though that at least some of the supporters of America’s pro-empire foreign policy are beginning to recognize attributes of the emperor, Darth Vader, and the dark side of the force within themselves and their policies, which could be a positive sign, especially given that Vader returned to the good side of the force before he died. As Mr. Spock of Star Trek fame would say: Fascinating!

Friday, May 20, 2005

The august members of the U.S. Congress, who cowardly and unconstitutionally delegated their power to declare war on Iraq to President Bush and who have remained comatose during the entire torture, sex abuse, rape, and murder scandal at Gitmo, Abu Ghraib, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and elsewhere, along with the resulting Pentagon whitewash and cover-up, undoubtedly are regretting letting British lawmaker George Galloway testify before Congress about allegations that he took money under the table from the infamous UN and U.S. oil-for-food program in Iraq.

Galloway let them have it, reminding them that it was the U.S. government that furnished Saddam Hussein with WMD and then helped him to use them. He also reminded them of the lies on which President Bush based his invasion and war of aggression against Iraq, recently confirmed by the ”smoking-gun” British intelligence memo. He reminded them of the brutal sanctions that the U.S. and the UN imposed against the Iraqi people — the sanctions that produced the deaths of Iraqi children that U.S. officials said were “worth it.” And he reminded them of congressional indifference to the millions of Iraqi dollars that went missing after U.S. officials took over the country.

I’ll bet those congressmen, who didn’t even read the Patriot Act before they enacted it, woke up real fast during that testimony! But I’ll also bet that they’ll soon be back asleep or at least fiddling with such important matters as judicial filibusters while Rome burns.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

What better example of the moral bankruptcy and hypocrisy of U.S. foreign policy than Uzbekistan, a nation in which there is a brutal corrupt dictator who tortures and kills his own people and who happens to be the beneficiary of millions of dollars in U.S. foreign aid, which of course comes from U.S. taxpayer money. U.S. officials have delivered American taxpayer money to the Uzbek dictator with full knowledge of his brutality and corruption. How do they morally justify this? On the grounds that the dictator is a “team player” in the U.S. government’s “war on terrorism.”

Never mind that the dictator, not the protestors he kills, is the true terrorist. That doesn’t matter. All that matters is that he does the bidding of U.S. officials, as they continue to place U.S. taxpayer cash into the brutal, dirty, tortuous little hands of the dictator and his minions.

It was no different when U.S. officials were supporting Saddam, the Shah of Iran, Pinochet, and so many others. All that matters to U.S. officials is: “Are you with us or against us? How you treat your people is of no concern to us. But if you buck us, then we will cut off your flow of U.S. taxpayer money, or we will assassinate you, or we will invade your country and oust you from power. Play ball with us and you’ll be fine. Refuse to, and you’re toast. Just ask Saddam”

How can support of brutal dictators know breed anger and resentment against the United States? And then when the terrorist blowback occurs, U.S. officials piously and innocently exclaim, “Oh my gosh, the terrorists hate us for our ‘freedom and values,’” as if “American freedom and values” include the support of brutal, corrupt dictators who kill their own people or just torture them by boiling them in water.

And speaking of torture and boiling, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the CIA’s sending of terrorist detainees to Uzbekistan under its infamous “rendition” program. Of course, the feds would say, “Oh, it’s just that we need prison space for these people and every American can rest assured that we secure the necessary assurances that the Uzbek torturers will not torture our detainees.”

Unfortunately, all too many Americans just continue turning the other way, preferring not to confront the moral bankruptcy and hypocrisy of their own government’s policies as well as the anger and hatred it has bred and continues to breed among the people of the world.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

An article we link to in today’s FFF Email Update is worth looking at: “Blowing Up an Assumption” by Robert A. Pape. The article explains how the occupation of Iraq is itself the cause of the terrorism it purports to smash. In other words, the federal government is not the solution to Iraq but rather the problem.

Therefore, for the U.S. to stay in Iraq to clean up the mess it has created will only make matters worse. The conquest of Iraq did enough damage in terms of all the innocent Iraqi people U.S. forces killed and maimed—many more innocent people that were killed on 9/11. The occupation, in which U.S.forces are now operating at the behest of the new Shiite regime in Iraq, entails the killing and maiming of even more people.

And the feds are making the matter worse with their plans to erect permanent bases in Iraq, along with the world’s biggest embassy. Talk about a colonial empire!

One problem is that all too many U.S. officials simply cannot fathom why foreign people hate them so much. In the minds of federal officials, they’re just benevolent bureaucrats from the federal government and just there to help people. Sure, they have to invade, and kill, and maim but if only people would follow their orders, everything would be fine.

But what the feds don’t understand is that many foreigners don’t like taking orders from a conqueror and occupier, especially one that consists of arrogant, know-it-all, point-head bureaucrats who lord it over foreigners. So, even if the U.S. government wasn’t torturing, sexually abusing, raping, and murdering detainees, or abusing people in their homes with warrantless searches and seizures, or shooting gun-control violators, there would be resistance to the occupation simply because people don’t like conquerors and occupiers.

There are those who say that it’s too late—that the U.S. government has killed so many innocent people that it must continue killing until all the insurgents (“terrorists”) are killed. That’s not very logical. Because the more they kill and maim, the more others are going to seek vengeance. And keep in mind: it is the presence of U.S. troops thousands of miles away that is producing the adverse reaction.

The federal government produced the problem in Iraq, with it support of Saddam, with its Persian Gulf intervention, with its sanctions, with its no-fly zones, with its troops on Islamic holy lands, and with its invasion of Iraq. The federal government is incapable of fixing the problem it produced and can only make things worse by trying to fix it. I repeat: The U.S. government is the problem in Iraq, not the solution.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

In the wake of Newsweek’s retraction of its story alleging that U.S. military officials at Gitmo desecrated a copy of the Koran, Reuters is reporting that “the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department all strongly criticized the report and said it had damaged Washington’s image abroad.”

Damaged Washington’s image abroad? Are these people for real?

They invade a sovereign and independent country that has not attacked the United States, lying about the real reason they’re doing so, which was “regime change,” not WMD, liberation, or democracy-spreading, as we have been saying here at FFF since even before the invasion and as the smoking-gun British intelligence memo has now confirmed.

And this after 10 years of brutal sanctions against the Iraqi people and the cavalier and callous attitude that U.S. officials had in maintaining that the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children were “worth it” — that is, worth the attempt at ousting Saddam Hussein from power and replacing him with a U.S.-approved regime.

And they kill countless innocent people as part of their enforcement of the illegal no-fly zones over Iraq, which were authorized neither by the U.S. Congress nor the UN.

And then they impose a tyrannical order on the Iraqi people, consisting of curfews, shooting of demonstrators, killing of insurgents resisting the illegal invasion and occupation of their country, indefinite detention of people without any hearing or due process whatsoever, warrantless searches of people’s persons, homes, and businesses, gun control enforced by U.S. military snipers. And they call all this “freedom.”

And there is, of course, the torture, sex abuse, rape, and murder scandals along with their Pentagon whitewashes and cover-ups.

And these people have the gall to say that the Newsweek story has damaged their reputation? Oh well, at least they have a new scapegoat for all the horrific damage to America’s reputation that these people have wrought all over the world.

Monday, May 16, 2005

The New York Times yesterday provided a fairly good example of how U.S. foreign policy keeps crises and tensions high, thereby coincidentally producing the need for ever-increasing budgets for the Pentagon and the military-industrial complex. The example deals with Korea.

According to the article, the United States wants to impose a “quarantine” on North Korea, which would entail searching trucks, planes, and trains for nuclear materials smuggled out of the country. (Don’t forget that as the world’s policeman, the U.S. would be doing the searching.) U.S. officials are upset that North Korea officials continue to boycott the U.S.-demanded talks on its nuclear program, a program obviously designed to dissuade the U.S. from attacking North Korea for the purpose of “regime change,” as it has done with Iraq. Now ask yourself: What would be the response of North Korean officials to a “quarantine” in which U.S. military officials are doing the searching?

South Korea’s strategy is different. According to the Times, it is “seeking to enhance security on the divided peninsula by reaching out to North Korea, promoting trade, investment and economic interdependence.” The South Korean strategy, of course, would tend to diminish tensions and crises between the two Koreas, which obviously wouldn’t be in the interests of the Pentagon and the U.S. military industrial complex because it’s difficult to demand ever-increasing budgets in the context of diminishing tensions and crises.

The best thing that the American people could ever do, especially given the fiasco in Iraq, is require their public officials to pull out all troops in Korea, bring them home, and discharge them. In fact, that’s what all to be done with all the other U.S. troops around the world, including those in Iraq. Not only would that diminish the anger and hatred among the victims of U.S. foreign policy all over the world, as it did after the U.S. exited Vietnam, it would also enable Americans to finally take the enormous U.S. empire tax-and-spend military burden off of their backs.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

The Pentagon has announced which bases it’s closing and, yes, the people in those areas are indeed in a conniption fit. According to the lead articles in today’s New York Times, there is “shock and a vow to fight” and that “opposition is intense” from the people who are about to lose their military welfare.

What a perfect testament to the welfare-warfare state! All across the welfare spectrum—food stamps, unemployment, Social Security, Medicare, public schooling, military bases, and on and on—people are fighting to maintain their dependency on the government—and fighting to ensure that everyone else pays for it.

Think about it: The military is announcing that a base is no longer necessary because the Cold War ended more than ten years ago. What these people (the military-welfare recipients) are saying is: “We don’t give a hoot about that. What does that matter to us? We have a right to have the IRS plunder and loot our fellow Americans to keep ourselves in high cotton with our military welfare. Don’t even think about stopping it!” Ironically, I’ll bet that a lot of these people look down their noses when they see a food-stamp mother in the grocery store line.

For those who think that the base closings constitute a reduction in Pentagon spending, sorry, it just ain’t true. Yes, you’re right — the Cold War ended more than 10 years ago. But did you really think that these people (the military-welfare distributors) wouldn’t come up with a new justification for their warfare state’s taxing and spending? Come on! Give these people some credit!

Don’t you remember when the Berlin Wall came crashing down after decades of massive taxing and spending to maintain the garrison state to “fight communism”? The justification for big miltary government became “the drug war” and “protecting U.S. businesses abroad” and, best of all, “an unsafe world.”

Thanks to the brutal things these people (the Pentagon) did to people in the Middle East during the 10 years after the Berlin Wall came down, we got 9/11 and the new perpetual justification for continuing and expanding the military-industrial complex—the “war on terror”! (Just the term itself is scary, right?)

And now they’ve come up with a new one. Referring to the base closures and realignment of the military welfare monies, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announced that the newest rationales for the massive “defense” expenditures include the “war on extremism” and, even better, “other evolving 21st century challenges”! Wow! Why, “extremism” and “new evolving challenges”! Why those are even scarier than communism, drugs, terrorism, unfair competition, and an unsafe world, right?

Friday, May 13, 2005

With so many anti-immigration folks complaining about Mexican illegal aliens, maybe the solution would be to have the U.S. government invade Mexico and take over its other half.

I mean, think about it: When U.S. officials wanted Mexico’s northern half, which consisted of California, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, and parts of Colorado, which Mexico refused to sell, the U.S. simply started a war against Mexico, enabling it to win the entire northern half of the country, knowing that it was filled with (Spanish-speaking) Mexicans whose culture was Spanish and Mexican. Those people immediately became American citizens.

So, by starting another war, the United States could finish the job by taking over the rest of the country. That would mean: No more Mexican illegal aliens for the anti-immigrant crowd to fret about because all those people would now be Americans. And just think: We could then travel to Cancun and Acapulco without passports!

And it really wouldn’t be a problem to invade, given the U.S. government’s current policy of invading sovereign and independent countries for whatever reason. Heck, to make it look good, all they’d have to do is claim that Mexican officials are engaged in the drug trade, jeopardizing our oil supplies, invading America with immigrants, and even hiding WMD. Anyway, who would care once we win?

Thursday, May 12, 2005

As longtime supporters of FFF know, long before 9/11 we were arguing that one of the predictable consequences of the U.S. government’s imperial and interventionist foreign policy was terrorism, including a terrorist attack on American soil. Then, ever since 9/11 we’ve seen the perverse but predictable consequences of the federal government’s so-called war on terrorism: out-of-control federal spending spearheaded by ever-increasing budgets for the Pentagon and the military-industrial complex; a perpetual state of crisis; the invasion and war of aggression against the Iraqi people; the torture, sex abuse, rape, and murder scandals on the part of the U.S. military in Cuba, Iraq, and Afghanistan; the CIA’s “rendition” scandal, in which detainees are kidnapped and forcibly and secretly sent to friendly brutal foreign regimes for the purpose of torture; and of course ever-increasing assaults on the civil liberties of the American people.

And yesterday, we witnessed another perverse consequence of U.S. foreign policy and the “war on terrorism” that it has spawned: the spectacle of a fearful, panicky people in our nation’s capital, desperately running for their lives as a small Cessna airplane inadvertently strayed into the “no-fly” zone around Washington, D.C. Can you imagine how these people would react if they lived in Baghdad, where bombs are a now a part of daily, ordinary life?

Is this any way to live? It’s certainly not the way Americans once lived. There was once a time not so long ago when federal officials didn’t live in constant fear and paranoia that “the terrorists” were coming to get them — a time when there wasn’t a run on duct tape.

Before 9/11, U.S. officials lived in blissful ignorance that they could do bad things to people around the world as part and parcel of their imperial and interventionist foreign policy. 9/11 provided the wake-up call that people to whom bad things are done will inevitably retaliate.

So, the questions facing both federal officials and the American people are:

Should the U.S. government be permitted to continue its pro-empire, interventionist, militarist course around the world, despite all the perverse and destructive consequences, including federal officials who now live under a cloud of continuous fear and paranoia and including a continuing erosion of liberty and prosperity for Americans?

Or should the U.S. government instead be required to abandon its policy of empire, interventionism, and militarism, thereby helping to restore peace, prosperity, stability, and harmony to our nation?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Yesterday, I talked about the perverse manner in which federal officials measure “progress” in the wars on terrorism and drugs. Now, take a look at this Houston Chronicle article about how the enormous narco-war between drug lords and the government is destroying Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, the sister city of my hometown of Laredo, Texas.

When I was a teenager in Laredo during the 1960s, we would take our dates across the river for dinner without worrying one bit about drug lords and drug battles. When I returned to Laredo in 1975 to practice law, the federal drug war was in full swing, and DEA agents were flooding Laredo with a commitment to “win the drug war.” Laredoans were treated to the same “We’re making progress with big drug seizures” bromides then that we hear today from drug-war officials. Nothing has changed in that respect.

What has also not changed is the aversion to the concept of “personal responsibility” that afflicts federal officials. Nowhere could you find a better example of that characteristic than the drug war. Consider the current deadly situation in Nuevo Laredo, which is a direct consequence of the drug war, just as alcohol Prohibition produced Al Capone. Do you think for a moment that federal officials, including those in Congress, who have the power to repeal the drug laws, take personal responsibility for what the drug war has done to Nuevo Laredo? Not on your life! Holding the concept of personal responsibility up to a federal official is like holding a cross up to a vampire, “Please, please, please judge us by our good intentions, not by the actual results of our programs,” is their common refrain, ignoring that that’s the way the road to hell is paved.

You’ll also notice in the Chronicle article about Nuevo Laredo that one of the primary means by which drugs are able to make their way north is through the bribery of law-enforcement officers. Hey, did you really think that drug lords are the only ones getting rich on this war? What about that Kentucky police chief accused of operating a meth lab? How about those police departments that are getting rich off of the drug-war asset-forfeiture seizures? What about those nice taxpayer-funded salaries of DEA officials — salaries that depend on the continuation of the drug war?

No wonder so many of these people — drug lords and drug-war officials alike — continue to oppose drug legalization so ardently—ending the drug war is certainly not in their self-interest, given that drug legalization would put both drug lords and drug agents out of business overnight. The shame of it all is that after 30 years of failure, immorality, and destructiveness the American people still fail to see how much of a federal scam the drug war really is.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The metaphorical war on terrorism is becoming more like the metaphorical war on drugs every day. U.S. officials proudly and excitedly announce arrests or killings of big suspected terrorists, just as they have proudly announced the arrests or killings of big suspected drug dealers for the last 30 years.

Each new arrest or killing in both wars immediately gives rise to much-ballyhooed announcements about the tremendous progress that is being made in the wars. Such announcements, in turn, give rise to ever-increasing calls for renewed dedication in winning the wars, followed by, of course, calls for more increases in government spending so that the wars can finally be won, once and for all.

Unfortunately, all too many Americans blind themselves to the fact that their very own government’s policies, especially the wars on drugs and terrorism, are the root of the problems. In fact, the consequences of both wars produce the very results that are then used as the rationale for waging the wars even more fiercely.

Consider the U.S. military’s killing of some 100 insurgents in Iraq yesterday — or “terrorists” as the U.S. government calls foreigners fighters who enter Iraq for the purpose of forcibly ousting the current regime and replacing it with another regime, except when the U.S. government does it, in which case the foreigners are called “freedom fighters.” Now that an “independent, democratically elected” regime exists in Iraq, U.S. forces are effectively acting as its police force. How can U.S. killings on behalf of the new Shiite regime in Iraq not engender anger and hatred against the United States regardless of the motivations that U.S. officials claim to have in providing “order and stability” for the new Iraqi regime? Surviving family members and friends of the dead don’t care about the motivations of U.S. officials — all they care about is that U.S. troops are thousands of miles from the United States killing people on behalf of a foreign regime. Ironically and perversely, U.S. officials proudly proclaim that the killings of such insurgents show that the feds are making progress in the war on terrorism, which, not surprisingly, means renewed dedication to winning the war on terrorism, which, not surprisingly, means increased budgets for the military-industrial complex.

The same holds true in the much-vaunted, 30-year-old war on drugs. DEA Chief Karen Tandy cites massive drug seizures as evidence that the DEA is “making progress” in the war on drugs. But after 30 years of drug warfare, only a died-in-the-wool government drug warrior, one who makes a nice government salary fighting the war on drugs, would consider massive drug seizures as evidence of progress. And of course, the massive drug seizures mean renewed dedication to winning the war on drugs, which, not surprisingly, means increased budgets for the drug-war complex, including those like Tandy whose salary depends on the continuation of the war.

Unfortunately, all too many Americans continue to put their blind faith in the feds and their beloved wars, believing that federal officials, like pagan gods, know what’s best for the American people and are only acting in their best interests. What we need in this country is a great awakening, in which the American people realize the fake, false, and destructive bill of goods they’ve been fed by the feds. That will be the day when Americans cause our nation to change course away from empire and perpetual war and move in the direction of liberty, peace, prosperity, and harmony.

Monday, May 9, 2005

A front-page story in today’s New York Times should give thinking Americans a good idea of how the Pentagon is leading America in a horrible direction with respect to its Padilla doctrine. With the Padilla doctrine, the Pentagon is fighting for the authorization to pick up any American, label him a suspected terrorist, and detain him forever without having to go through the hassles of prosecuting him in federal court and according him such constitutional guarantees as due process of law and trial by jury.

The New York Times article points out that indefinite detentions of suspected criminals, “a relic of the Mao era,” are the way of life in communist China. The article states: “Locked inside more than 300 special prisons are an estimated 300,000 prostitutes, drug users, petty criminals and other political prisoners who have been stripped of any legal rights.”

Bringing to mind the U.S. military’s torture and sex abuse at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib, a Chinese prisoner stated that “guards often jolted inmates with electric cattle prods…. Menstruating women were shackled standing against a board and then prevented from sleeping or going to the bathroom for several days.”

As we have long maintained here at FFF, a Pentagon win in the Padilla case will transform American society in ways that the American people cannot even begin to imagine. Ironically, just when the Pentagon is fighting hard to move America in more communist direction, the communist regime in China “this year is expected to begin privately considering whether, and how, to change” its system of indefinite detention.

Saturday, May 7, 2005

According to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, the word “gall” means brazen boldness coupled with impudent assurance and insolence. Synonyms include audacity, brashness, chutzpah, nerve, and temerity.

For a good example of “gall,” consider this excerpt from a recent Christian Science Monitor article:

“The Bush administration has also accused Venezuela President Hugo Chavez of having a ‘poor human rights record and of meddling in the internal affairs of neighboring countries,’ reports Bloomberg.”

Talk about gall!

Why, here is an imperial regime (the U.S. government) that has engaged in torture, sex abuse, rape, executions, invasions of both neighboring and faraway countries (i.e., Mexico, Panama, Grenada, and Iraq), wars of aggression, bribery (foreign aid), massacres of innocent people (Waco and Ruby Ridge), support of brutal dictatorships (i.e., Saddam, Musharraf, the shah of Iran, and Pinochet) and a corrupt and brutal drug war (especially in Latin America) and maintains military troops in more than 100 countries.

And now the U.S. government is complaining about Venezuela’s “poor human rights record and meddling in the internal affairs of neighboring countries”? Indeed, U.S. officials give renewed meaning to the word “gall”!

Friday, May 6, 2005

A high U.S. official — President Bush, no less — is finally admitting what so many Americans have not wanted to admit for the last half-century — that contrary to what every one of us is taught in our public (i.e., government) schools, the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II was no victory for the people who had to suffer under the occupation of the Soviet Union, a major ally of the United States in World War II.

You’ll recall that the purported reason that Great Britain and France declared war on Germany in the first place was to liberate the Polish people from tyranny. But as we have pointed out here at FFF since our inception, including in our book The Failure of America’s Foreign Wars, at the end of the war the people of Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe, and the people of East Germany, and the people in Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia were not liberated. Yes, they were free from the shackles of Nazi Germany, but they were then knowingly and intentionally delivered into the clutches of the Soviet Union, a brutal communist regime that was no different in principle from the Nazi regime.

The problem has always been that since the Soviet Union was an ally of the United States in World War II and since communist dictator Joseph Stalin was a personal buddy of U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt, U.S. officials have always been able to convince the American people simply that “the Allies” won World War II, discouraging people from thinking any deeper about what that really meant. It meant, as we have long pointed out, that Poland (which was invaded by the Soviet Union at about the same time that Nazi Germany invaded Poland in 1939), Eastern Europe, East Germany, and the Baltics were “liberated” from Nazi Germany only to be delivered into the hands of the communists.

Some victory, right? Some liberation, right? Some freedom, right?

President Bush, who is traveling to Moscow to celebrate the standard World War II “victory,” has been under pressure because Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania, not surprisingly, are refusing to celebrate any such “victory.” Their refusal has pressured President Bush into writing them a letter implying that the Soviet communist occupation of their country at the end of World War II (and for several decades thereafter) wasn’t really a victory or freedom for them. Maybe Bush will go all the way and admit that World War II wasn’t a victory for the people of Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, and East Germany either.

Bush’s letter, in turn, has angered Russian president Putin, who has responded, quite accurately, that Great Britain and the United States committed a war crime when they fire-bombed the defenseless women, children, and refugees in the beautiful German city of Dresden near the end of the war.

Thursday, May 5, 2005

According to a front-page article in the Los Angeles Times, “The U.S. government has opened a criminal inquiry into suspected embezzlement by officials who failed to account for almost $100 million they disbursed for Iraqi reconstruction projects, federal investigators said Wednesday.”

So, let me see if I have this clear: The U.S. government invaded Iraq to “liberate” the Iraqi people from a corrupt dictator who tortured, sexually abuse, and killed his own people, including filling mass graves with insurgents who were opposing his regime.

Excuse me for being indelicate but how is this different than the post-invasion Iraqi regime, which has engaged in financial corruption involving Iraqi oil revenues, torture, sex abuse, and killing of insurgents.

Or are we back to that strong moral argument—“Our regime has done it less than Saddam’s regime did.”

Of course, congressional supporters of the war of aggression against Iraq, which never attacked the United States or threatened to do so, might respond, “Yeah, but at least Iraq is now free and stable.”

Well, I’d be the last one in the world to support any more overseas “educational junkets” for congressmen, but given that they love to take them to places like Hawaii, why not require that every single congressman who supported the war spend his next vacation, I mean “educational junket”, in Iraq? And I don’t just mean the “Green Zone” or Saddam’s palace, which is now occupied by U.S. officials. I mean, requiring these congressmen to spend a real nice time walking around Baghdad and other cities in “liberated” Iraq, visiting the sights, the same way they would do in Hawaii, Ft. Lauderdale, etc. Why would those congressmen object, given repeated federal assurances (which have to be true since federal officials would never lie) that Iraq is now “free and stable”?

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Yesterday I commented on how ideal it would be if the U.S. government abandoned all its bases overseas and brought the troops home, discharging all of them into the private sector. This would constitute a major step in dismantling America’s military empire and restoring a republic to our land. It would seriously diminish the threat of terrorism, given that the bad things that the U.S. military does overseas is a principle source of the anger and hatred that foreigners have against the United States. It would also slash federal spending (and taxes), which would be economically positive.

MSNBC reported yesterday that the Pentagon is getting ready to announce a round of base closings inside the United States. The reaction of cities that are dependent on military welfare is predictable — everyone is having a panicky, conniption fit over the possibility of losing their dole. It’s just another example of what the welfare aspects of the warfare state have done to Americans. Just as people are frightened to death of the “terrorists” and the immigrants and of losing their Social Security, welfare, Medicare, SBA loans, education grants, drug laws, etc., they’re also terrified of losing their military-welfare largess. But just like addiction to heroin and cocaine, the sooner that Americans terminate their addiction to this welfare-warfare federal junk, the better off they and the rest of the country will be.

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

There might be a perverse upside to the Pentagon’s continued military occupation of Iraq: The occupation might be inhibiting the Pentagon’s ability to attack and wage wars of aggression against other innocent nations. According to the New York Times, “The concentration of American troops and weapons in Iraq and Afghanistan limits the Pentagon’s ability to deal with other potential armed conflicts, the military’s highest ranking officer reported to Congress on Monday.”

After all, if U.S. troops were withdrawn from Iraq today, they would not be discharged into the private sector. Instead, they would undoubtedly immediately be made ready to attack, bomb, and invade another country that has not attacked the United States, such as Iran.

Of course, the ideal result would be for the U.S. occupation to end immediately, bringing all troops home and giving them a full and complete discharge from the military. For that matter, the real ideal result would be to simply close all U.S. bases overseas and bring all U.S. overseas troops home, giving them discharges as well.

But given that U.S. officials are steadfastly committed to maintaining and even expanding their military empire around the world, especially with military attacks and wars of aggression, the fact that some 150,000 imperial troops are bogged down in Iraq might well be saving tens of thousands of innocent lives in countries that the president and the Pentagon would otherwise be attacking and invading.

Monday, May 2, 2005

Sunday’s Washington Post reported that people “Vietnam celebrated the communist victory over a U.S.-backed government Saturday, parading its troops down the same boulevard along which tanks rolled to smash into the Presidential Palace of South Vietnam 30 years ago.”

However, the millions of Vietnamese people killed by the U.S. government were not there to participate in the celebration because they were dead.

Of course, there are those who claim that the war was worth it because if the U.S. government had won the war, the Vietnamese people would have been better off under a U.S.-approved regime than under a communist regime. That might well be true for those who survived but certainly not for those who were dead or maimed.

Consider, for example, the situation today. Things certainly have improved economically but no one can deny that the Vietnamese people are living a life of freedom under Vietnam’s socialist and communist systems. Should the U.S. government reinvade Vietnam to liberate and democratize the Vietnamese people? Absolutely not. Leave Vietnam to the Vietnamese. It would not be morally right for U.S. forces to again start bombing and napalming Vietnam and killing Vietnamese people in order to impose a U.S.-approved democratic regime in their country. Life isn’t free in Vietnam but the Vietnamese people have a right not to be bombed, killed, liberated, and democratized by the U.S. military.

On the anniversary of the U.S. defeat in Vietnam, we shouldn’t forget that the deaths of almost 60,000 American men in the Vietnam War were the result of a knowing, intentional, and deliberate lie proudly put forth to the American people by U.S. officials, who falsely claimed that North Vietnamese military forces had fired on U.S. ships in the Gulf of Tonkin.

You’ll also recall that U.S. officials repeatedly claimed that if the U.S. government didn’t win in Vietnam, the dominoes would start falling and ultimately communists would take over America. Well, as everyone knows, the U.S. government lost the war but the dominoes didn’t stop falling and the communists didn’t conquer America. I wonder how many of those federal officials who were responsible for the deaths of so many people, both Vietnamese and American, would be surprised at reading the following excerpt from the Post’s article:

“Down the grand boulevard where Communist tanks once rolled in, capitalism has taken solid root. Many of the parade floats were sponsored by American companies including VISA and American Express. One float featured women pushing shopping carts loaded with supermarket goods. These days, Le Duan Street is home to Diamond Plaza, a glittering, upscale department store where French perfumes and Italian shoes are sold to an emerging urban, middle class. Along the same strip, a French-owned five-star hotel sits across the street from the U.S. consulate, rebuilt after the former U.S. Embassy was razed in the late 1990s.”

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.